Blow for Bristol Rovers: Matt Harold sidelined with knee injury
MARK McGhee last night suffered another setback in his bid to turn around Bristol Rovers' ailing fortunes after it was confirmed striker Matt Harrold is to spend a lengthy spell sidelined with a knee injury.
Harrold was withdrawn during the first-half of Saturday's 4-0 reverse at Gillingham after landing awkwardly and he left the Priestfield ground on crutches.
The striker, who was last season's top-scorer after notching a career-high tally of 18 goals, was sent for a scan yesterday morning, which confirmed he had damaged his cruciate ligament.
The exact length of time Harrold is to spend in recovery has yet to be clarified and will not be known until he returns for further tests later this week, which will determine for certain whether or not the ligament has been ruptured.
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"It's terrible news," said McGhee last night. "I had high hopes that Matt could score 20 goals for us this season and now that looks as though it will be unlikely.
"We don't know the exact amount of time we will be without him because he needs to have further tests to determine whether or not he has ruptured the ligament.
"Regardless of the results of those tests, however, we are looking at being without Matt for quite a lengthy spell, which is a terrible blow for him personally and for us as a squad."
McGhee is expected to pitch central defender Garry Kenneth into action ahead of schedule for this evening's clash with Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.
The manager is also contemplating changes elsewhere in his starting line-up after questioning his decision to put faith in his group of players following Saturday's reverse.
He said: "We're hugely disappointed with the start we have made to the season.
"There are things that we need to address and we are prepared to do that.
"We are ready to make changes if we can and there are a number of options we have been looking at in an attempt to strengthen the squad.
"We need to find a combination now that will go and get us some results. There is an opportunity for people to grab a place in the team at the moment, as no one has convinced me enough to nail down their place."
Rovers, meanwhile, remain just one place off the foot of League Two after five games of the season and McGhee added: "I'm not seeing any lack of confidence issues playing a part in our results yet.
"It is a bit of a contradiction of sorts because the group has trained brilliantly since the first day pre- season.
They are a nice group of lads, but some of them may lack a bit of aggression in certain key areas.
"We might need to consider targeting a few players who have that aggression as a natural part of their make-up because we need to be a lot tougher."